The Tennessee State Library & Archives’ TN225 Lunchtime Speaker Series Takes a Look Back at Tennessee’s Centennial Celebration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2021
CONTACT: Julia Bruck
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The first Tennessee State Library & Archives Lunchtime Speaker Series event, a look back at Tennessee’s Centennial Celebration led by the preeminent expert on the subject, Historian David E. Ewing, will be Friday, Sept. 10, from noon to 1 p.m.
“As Tennessee celebrates its 225th anniversary of statehood, this presentation will give attendees a glimpse into the remarkable celebration our great state held to recognize its first 100 years,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I encourage anyone interested in Tennessee history to join us on their lunch break either virtually or in-person.”
The lecture will explore the stories behind Tennessee’s Centennial Celebration of statehood in 1896 and the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897. The Tennessee Centennial Exposition, a six-month celebration in Nashville, was among the largest in a series of industrial expositions that became hallmarks of the era.
The speaker, Ewing, a ninth-generation Nashville native, has the largest private collection of historic memorabilia related to the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. He has served on the board of the Parthenon, the Hermitage, Traveller’s Rest and Cheekwood. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Leadership Nashville and is a past president of the Young Leaders Council. In 2009, Ewing created The Nashville I Wish I Knew, Facebook and Instagram accounts which have more than 14,000 followers. He also founded Nashville History On Tour, which offers classic and custom historic tours.
“We are excited to welcome guests to the Library & Archives and to have David Ewing, the foremost expert on Tennessee’s Centennial Celebration, kick off our Lunchtime Speaker Series,” said Chuck Sherrill, Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist.
This Lunchtime Speaker Series event will be in-person and livestreamed on the Library & Archives’ Facebook page and the Secretary of State’s YouTube channel. In-person attendees are welcome to bring their lunch. This event is free to the public. To make a reservation to attend in person, visit bit.ly/TN225TCC. Seating is limited.
After the presentation, in-person attendees can view items related to Tennessee’s Centennial Celebration from Ewing’s and the Library & Archives’ collections. In-person attendees can also take a guided tour of the new facility.
The Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way North on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, across from the Tennessee State Museum. Parking is available for guests in the Library & Archives garage on Jackson Street/Junior Gilliam Way.
The Library & Archives’ other Lunchtime Speaker Series events will take place on Nov. 5, Feb. 11 and May 6. Topics for these events include Native American life and culture in early Tennessee, how Tennessee earned the Volunteer State nickname through service in military conflicts and how Tennessee’s topography and geology impacted where pioneers settled.
For the latest information about the Lunchtime Speaker Series, follow the Library and Archives social media channels, Facebook: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives.
To make a reservation to attend the Lunchtime Speaker Series in person, visit bit.ly/TN225TCC. To learn more about the Library and Archives or schedule a research visit, call 615-741-2764, email email@example.com or visit sos.tn.gov/tsla/plan-your-visit.
Second Saturday Tours of the Tennessee State Library & Archives Continue this Week
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Second Saturday tours of the beautiful new state-of-the-art Tennessee State Library & Archives on the northeast corner of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville are back this Saturday, Aug. 14.
The free, family-friendly Second Saturday guided tours begin every hour, on the hour, starting at 10 a.m. with the last tour beginning at 3 p.m. This event is free to the public. Reservations are not required.
“Our first Second Saturday at the Library & Archives event in July was a great success,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “We were able to introduce more Tennesseans to the Library & Archives and show them what an incredible resource it is for our great state. I encourage anyone interested in Tennessee history and culture to join us this Saturday.”
Focusing on items about Tennessee and Tennesseans, the Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State, collects and preserves books, journals, maps, photographs, records and other documents of historical and reference value.
The Library & Archives is home to many irreplaceable historical documents, including Tennessee’s three Constitutions, letters from Tennessee’s three presidents, records from 55 former Tennessee governors and original records of the State of Franklin.
The Library & Archives also houses the annals of state government, documents and recordings from legislative proceedings, records from every Tennessee courthouse, copies of all surviving Tennessee newspapers and records from families, businesses, civic organizations, etc.
“Our staff is always excited to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at our vast and wide-ranging collection and to share about how we preserve our state’s history for current and future generations,” said Chuck Sherrill, Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist.
The new Library & Archives is located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N., in Nashville. The lobby, featuring interactive exhibits highlighting the state’s most precious historical documents, is open to the public Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. The library, microfilm and manuscripts reading rooms are open for research Tuesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT.
For the latest information from the Library & Archives, follow their social media channels: Facebook: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives and the Secretary of State’s Twitter account: @SecTreHargett.
For more information about the Library & Archives or Second Saturdays, call 615-741-2764, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sos.tn.gov/tsla/plan-your-visit.
Hurray for the WPA
Recently, I've been using and scanning Works Projects Administration (WPA) records at the Tipton County Museum. I needed to verify if, in fact, the records were copyrighted material. In my search, I came across Judy G. Russell's post in 2016 about WPA records and what a wonderful resource and genealogical gem they are. So, with Ms. Russell's permission, we're sharing her post again. And in case you're wondering... WPA records are not copyrighted material. As Judy has pointed out, federally funded works created by United States government employees in the course of their duties, are not copyrighted. - Sherri
by Judy G. Russell | Jun 23, 2016
More New Deal era records for us to use
Yesterday’s post on the New Deal had reader G R Berry thinking about other records from that time period that are useful for genealogy.
“The New Deal also produced records we can use,” the reader pointed out. “For example, the Work Projects Administration, Division of Community Projects, National Archives Project compiled all the data from ship registrations and enrollments in the customs district of Machias Maine and published them as a book. These records include ownership data. Looking at Hathi Trust’s catalog for that author, they also did similar books for a bunch of other customs districts. Hathi Trust has 978 full view items for a search on Works Project Administration, including titles like ‘The skill of brick and stone masons, carpenters, and painters employed on Works Progress Administration projects in seven cities in January, 1937’, ‘Landplatting in Duluth, Minnesota, 1856-1939,’ ‘Guide to ten major depositories of manuscript collections in New York State (exclusive of New York City)’, ‘Guide to vital statistic records in Arkansas’, ‘Jackson County, Indiana index of names of persons and of firms’, or ‘Annals of Cleveland, 1818-1935; a digest and index of the newspaper record of events and opinions’…”1
Oh, yeah. And those off-the-beaten-track bits and pieces pointed out by this reader don’t even begin to describe the goodies we as genealogists have because of the Works Progress Administration.
The Legal Genealogist has noted the WPA as a genealogical resource before,2 but it’s clearly time to review this topic again.
First established under and funded by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935,3 its work wasn’t nearly done when, on 21 June 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 19384 that allowed the WPA to continue — and to create some of the most amazing genealogical resources that will ever exist.
Most of us probably know that the Works Progress Administration (“WPA”) was a massive federal project to put people to work in the depths of the Great Depression. It employed millions of Americans on public projects sponsored by federal, state, or local agencies, and as World War II loomed and then began, on defense and even war-related projects.5
And in the course of that effort to put people to work, the WPA hired teachers, historians, clerical workers, writers and photographers to document America as it was and to survey what it had been.
There are three major results of the WPA’s works for which today’s genealogists can be forever grateful.
First, the Historical Records Survey produced a wide variety of inventories of available vital records, plus bibliographies, cemetery and newspaper indexes. It produced inventories of manuscript collections in archives, historical societies and libraries, public and private. It inventoried church records. It produced indexes to censuses and naturalization records. It produced place-name guides. And these records are widely available around the country and on microfilm through the Family History Library.
You want to know about changes in street names in New Orleans between 1852 and 1938? There’s a typewritten volume, Alphabetical Index of Changes in Street Names, Old and New Period 1852 to Current Date, Dec. 1st 1938, prepared by the WPA that’s now online at the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library.
Want an index to the Blount County, Tennessee, Burial Records? One was prepared by the WPA — it’s in the Tennessee State Library & Archives.
How about an index to birth records from Starke County, Indiana, from 1894-1938? It’s there in the Indiana State Library. Along with the WPA-prepared index to marriage records, 1896-1938, and index to marriage transcripts, 1899-1938.
Want to know what records existed — and exist — in Oklahoma? There’s a catalog of American Indian records found at the Oklahoma Historical Society, inventories of federal documents in the Veterans Administration, post offices, relief agencies, and federal courts, inventories of records in all seventy-seven counties and of municipal records, church archives and private collections within the state — and most of the records of what was done are located in the Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society.6
In Missouri, there are now 302 linear feet of records, or 817 rolls of microfilm of the Historic Records Survey — correspondence, essays, forms, instructions, lists, publications, reports, research material, and notes — at the State Historical Society.7
In Texas, the Historical Records Survey handled “the renovation and rearrangement of more than ten million documents and 362,452 volumes; the transcription of 217,323 pages of records dating from 1731; the preparation of new name or subject indices to 1,169,762 property records and name indices to over four million birth, death, and marriage records; the preparation of new name indices to supplement the original recordings of 928,900 district and county court records; and the inventory of probate case papers for 392,450 estates as a means of assisting interested persons in finding these valuable documents.”8
There are the folks who did the soundex indexing of the 1920 census, undertaken as a Historical Records Survey project of the WPA in New York City. Literally thousands of WPA workers were assigned to that project starting in 1938; it wasn’t finished until 1940.9
But that’s not all genealogists can thank the WPA for. There’s also the Federal Writers’ Project. It may be best known for having produced a series of guide books of the states now known as the American Guide Series. The U.S. Senate has a description of the series online, but focusing on the guides barely begins to do the work of the Federal Writers’ Project justice. In addition to the guide books, there were local histories produced, compilations of folklore, books and pamphlets for children and adults and — best of all — all kinds of interview reports.
Want to know where James H. Armstrong of Ogalalla, Nebraska, was born in 1828? Or what happened to the crops there before they could be harvested in 1887? Check out the interview with his daughter, Ada Case, who was interviewed 14 November 1938.10
How about Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gaston of Ogalalla? Check out the 1938 interview with Mrs. Gaston. You’ll discover that he was born 2 May 1859, at Saskatchawan, Canada, and came to Keith County in 1884. She was born 15 November 1869 at La Port Indiana. They were married at Grant Nebraska, 1888, moved to Happy Hollow and had six children: John Franklin in 1892; Isac Iver, 1894; Katherine Marjria, 1896; Charles Adam, 1890; Kenneth Lloyd, 1902; and Dicy Dorritt, 1906. Most of their life story is there.11
The Slave Narratives may be the most compelling of the oral histories. There are 17 volumes in the series compiled by the WPA entitled Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. And they’re online at the Library of Congress’ American Memory Project in a collection called Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938.
Mrs. John High of Arkansas was interviewed in 1938 and told of Emiline Waddell, former slave of the L.W. Waddell family, born in 1826 in Rabun County, Georgia, a slave of Claybourne Waddell. She was reportedly born a deaf mute but had hearing and speech restored when lightning struck a tree under which she was standing.12
Addie Vinson of Athens, Georgia, told of her father Peter being bought from Sam Brightwell by Ike Vinson. Her father’s parents were Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Jacob, slaves of Obe Jackson. And she spoke of her life and the life of other slaves, such as the way the overseer beat the slaves; once her uncle was beaten so badly he couldn’t work for a week.13
And even that’s not all to thank the WPA for. There are also the photographs. Hundreds and hundreds available through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Thousands more available at the National Archives. Thousands more than that available through online sources such as the New Deal Photo Gallery at the New Deal Network as featured yesterday.
And then there are all those off-the-beaten-track bits and pieces pointed out by reader G R Berry.
All of these wondrous bits and pieces and resources of the WPA.
Where would we be without them?
Image: Arizona child, photographed by WPA, 1930s.
Aug. 12 - Genealogy Help Night: Jonesborough-Washington County Library, 200 Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, from 6 to 7 pm.
Aug. 16 - ZOOM meeting for Washington County, TN Heritage Fair update: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7pm Eastern Time (US and Canada) we will have a ZOOM meeting for those interested in the Washington County, TN Heritage Fair with all the updates of the event and will try to answer all questions. Please contact the Society if you are interested. They are only allowing 20 in each presentation due to the capacity of the room, so pre-registration is required. Volunteers are needed for this event. Also sign-up for the presentations you want to attend at jgstn.org/annual-heritage-fair/ - click on the registration form and then submit. Chad Bailey is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
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Meeting ID: 826 8991 5433
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Aug. 21 - Genealogy Day: Dr. Donald Shaffer, History of African-Americans in Washington County, Tennessee. He will discuss the work on two upcoming books on African-American History including a book on Hezekiah Hankal and a volume on African-American History in Washington County, TN. Langston Centre, 315 Elm Street, Johnson City at 9:30 am.
Sept. 3 & 4 - Washington County, Tennessee Heritage Fair: Friday, Sept. 3 & Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and Emporium. “The streets of Jonesborough will turn back in time.”
Remembering Freedom is not Free
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was a day set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. Decoration Day began after the Civil War to honor those who gave their lives during our country’s bloodiest conflict, and was proclaimed, not by the president, but by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
“The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Many Americans have forgotten what the true meaning of the day is for. Most will celebrate the three-day “holiday” weekend by starting their summer – days at the beach or camping out, BBQs and enjoying family and friends. Not many will stop to reflect on the very reason they have the weekend to celebrate at all.
It seems as if Franklin D. Roosevelt’s prediction in 1941 has come to pass, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy, forget in time that men died to win them.”
All weekend I’ve been the recipient of gratitude and well-wishes – and although I am very grateful and honored people have been thinking of me and my service to our nation – today’s not about me.
It’s not my day. I’m not dead.
Nor is it about any other living military person or veteran…. our day is in November and it’s called Veterans Day.
Tonight, I walked around my local cemetery looking at the numerous headstones, which had been decorated with American flags for the weekend. Many of the flags had been knocked down due to the wind and rain we had the night before, so I spent time righting flags, saluting fallen comrades and thanking them for their service and sacrifice. It also made me wonder, why we decorate the final resting places of our military heroes only for the weekend? Why we don’t ensure that the American flag, the very one they pledged to support and defend and the one, many died defending, is not permanently flown over their headstones?
As I walked between the rows of stones, drawn to those marked with flags, I stopped at each one I came across for a moment of quiet reflection. Not all had died in service for their country, but all had served.
Tipton County has lost many young men who died while fighting for their county, just as many communities throughout West Tennessee have. Young men, like SP4 Ronald Gordon Smith, USARV, who was killed in Vietnam. He was 19 when he arrived in country on May 14, 1967, as a soldier with Co. A, 2nd BN, 1st Inf., 196th Infantry Brigade and celebrated his birthday a short 18 days later on the fields of the Republic of Vietnam. He drew his last breath at age 20 on Nov. 21, 1967 in a battle in the Quang Tin Province, six short months after arriving. He is remembered on panel 30E, line 60 on the Vietnam Wall and I came across this memory shared online on Memorial Day 1999 from one of his friends which shows he was very much loved and is missed.
“Dearest Smitty, in three days you could have been 52 years old-as I am. You could have had a wife, children, and a dog – a whole and complete life. Instead, you will always be 20 years old in my mind, driving a red Corvair, smiling and laughing. I still love you as my best high school friend. I think of you so often still and pray God’s blessings on you in heaven and on your family and friends left on earth. I love you, Judy.”
Another of Tipton County’s lost sons of the Vietnam War was 20-year-old Odell Craig, who was just 15 days shy of his 21st birthday when he lost his life while on patrol with his unit in the jungles of the Bing Duong Province in Vietnam. His last letter home, written days before his death, spoke of being in the field for the first time since he’d arrived in Vietnam and that he’s out in the “boondocks for two weeks trying to fight the VC but I’m not scared though.” He wrote of the hardships of sleeping in the rain on the ground and of the mosquitos. He wrote that he was happy his brother, Lawrence, was thinking about going into the Navy if he got drafted, and that his prayers had been answered because he didn’t want him in Vietnam, going through what he was having to do. His family received that last letter on May 8, 1969, three days after he was killed on May 5, and just five months after he landed in Vietnam.
Since the dawn of our country, more than 42 million men and women have served to protect this great land of ours, and more than 1.3 million have died doing so. It seems the least we can do this weekend, is spend a few moments reflecting on those who have given their lives in combat so that we can live ours in freedom.
As the years pass, it becomes easier to forget the person behind the name, and so it falls on our shoulders – the legacy holders – the parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends – to tell the story our soldiers can no longer tell.
Today is the day to honor our war dead. Those brave men and women, who while answering the call of their nation, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They are who Memorial Day is for.
So, this Memorial Day, before you fire up the BBQ, take a moment to reflect on all of our fallen countrymen of all wars and the sacrifice they have made on our behalf and to remember that our freedom has never been free.
The summer months are upon us and with them are (hopefully) planned vacations. Why not let this summer’s vacation include a trip to one of the fabulous genealogy libraries and archives that are addressed in this blog post?
Recently, Lisa Junkins, Director of Public Relations for TNGS, gave a fantastic presentation entitled “Start Your Library Bucket List.” This blog post gives a bit of information on all of the institutions she covered, and we hope that you can use this as a “cheat sheet” to prepare for your trip.
Better yet, if you are a member of TNGS, you can sign in on the website, go to the Members Only page, scroll down to “Recorded Education Sessions,” and then go to “Genealogical Education Sessions.” After clicking on that last link, you will find a list of the recordings of all of the webinars that TNGS has presented.
Find Lisa’s “Start Your Library Bucket List,” sit back and enjoy the trip!
Here are a few of the tips that Lisa provided on some of the best places to research: (Always remember to CALL FIRST!)
Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana (Central Branch)
For current hours and closings https://acpl-cms.wise.oclc.org/genealogy
Planning Your Visit Page https://acpl-cms.wise.oclc.org/plan
Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, Alabama
Genealogy Services: http://www.bplonline.org/resources/genealogy/
Tips on Research: http://www.bplonline.org/resources/genealogy/Genealogy.aspx#general
For reservations to Southern History Department call 205-226-3665
For reservations to Birmingham Public Library Archives call 205-226-3630
Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, Cincinnati Ohio
Request an appointment in the Genealogy Collection:
Digital Library available at: https://digital.cincinnatilibrary.org/
Denver Public Library, Denver, Colorado (Central Branch)
For updates on when the Central Branch will open: https://www.denverlibrary.org/content/central-library
About the Genealogy and Western History Center: https://history.denverlibrary.org
Online classes: https://www.denverlibrary.org/events/upcoming?program_types=7665&program_types=7228&branches=7902
Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
For updates on when they will open: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Family_History_Library
Lists of Classes & Webinars: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Family_History_Library_Classes_and_Webinars
The Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky
Membership Levels (includes an e-member level):
How to Research page: https://filsonhistorical.org/collections/how-to-research/
National Society Sons of the American Revolution Genealogical Research Library, Louisville, Kentucky
Visiting the Library: https://www.sar.org/library-contact-information/
Germantown Regional History & Genealogical Center, Germantown, Tennessee
Covid Updates: https://www.germantown-tn.gov/play/germantown-regional-history-and-genealogy-center
Germantown Arts and Crafts Festival: https://germantownfest.com/Home
Germantown Charity Horse Show Schedule: https://gchs.org/schedule
J Erik Jonsson Central Library, Dallas, Texas
General Information about the 8th Floor/Genealogy & History: http://dallaslibrary2.org/genealogy/collection.php
Planning a visit page: http://dallaslibrary2.org/genealogy/visit.php
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540
For updates on when will open: https://www.loc.gov
Information about Orientations: https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/inforeas/orient.html
Pre-register for free Reader Card: https://reader-registration.loc.gov/readerreg/remote/
Links their librarian suggested: https://guides.loc.gov/genealogy
Explore Folklife collection in your state: https://www.loc.gov/folklife/states/index.html
Check here for train (metro) information: https://www.wmata.com
Mid Continent Library, Independence, Missouri
For updates on hours: https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy
Getting Started in Genealogy: https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy/get-started
Harry S Truman Library & Museum: https://www.trumanlibrary.gov
National Archives Kansas City: https://www.archives.gov/kansas-city
All locations: https://www.archives.gov/locations
National DAR Library, 1776 D Street NW, Washington D. C.
Hours when they will be open: https://www.dar.org/national-society/hours-operation
Plan Your Visit Page: https://www.dar.org/library/about-library/planning-your-visit
Check here for train (metro) information: https://www.wmata.com
Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN
Genealogy Section: https://sos.tn.gov/tsla/history
Email the Reference Desk for latest guidance on visiting: email@example.com
or call 615-741-2764
Tennessee General Assembly Schedules and Calendars: https://capitol.tn.gov
Tennessee State Capitol Tours: https://www.capitol.tn.gov/about/capitolvisit.html
For many years, the Tennessee Genealogical Society (TNGS) has had the motto, “For All of Tennessee.” It was always the dream of the Society that one day we could reach out across the state and connect with counties through either their genealogical or historical societies, or through their libraries and archives. We planned to share news with them about events, as well as gain ideas from them. In reality, we just wanted to get to know them and to have them get to know about us. We wanted to connect.
We have been working on developing and mapping out this plan in earnest for the last couple of years. Data was collected and stored, but it was slow-going because it was often necessary to actually travel to some of the counties in order to gain insight as to what was available there.
However, when the COVID Pandemic struck in March of 2020, the opportunity actually arose for us to approach things in a different manner. Along with the necessity of having to use technology to continue educational programming for our members, we found the ideal means of reaching out across the state to others. Basically, we learned to make lemonade out of lemons!
The Board decided to appoint three Area Advisors to the Board of Advisors. These Advisors would each live in the three grand divisions of Tennessee. They would need to be members of TNGS and would need to be willing to contact the various organizations in the counties located in their area and to serve as the main contact person for TNGS for that specified area.
We managed to find three wonderful people for those positions. The first one named was Cynthia Guffey, who lives in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. She very happily agreed to serve as our East Tennessee Advisor and would soon become Chair of our Partnership Committee. Next came our Middle Tennessee Advisor. We realized that we already had the perfect person. Former TNGS Board Member, Donna Garrett, had moved to Nashville a couple of years ago and was delighted to be able to serve us again in an advisory position. Finally, we looked for a West Tennessee representative. We wanted someone who didn’t live in Shelby County (where TNGS is located), and we were extremely lucky to find Connie Lewis from Hardin County, Tennessee. Connie was eager to become our West Tennessee Advisor.
After the initial planning period, contacts started being made and the responses started coming in! Within just a couple of months of hard work, we have (as of this date) 35 new partner organizations from across the state of Tennessee!
In the initial letter sent to the various groups, we spelled out the following benefits of being a Partner with TNGS:
Within the next couple of weeks, we plan to have specific places on our website that will feature these Partners. One place will be under the “About Us” tab. A list of each Partner with a link to their website (if they have one) will be found there. Partners will be added as their applications are sent to us.
Another spotlight will be in a separate space on the main page of the website itself. In this area, any events that are sent to us by a Partner will be featured, with the next three upcoming Partner events appearing there. These events will rotate on and off according to the closest dates and as they are sent in to us.
In addition, more information about the actual locations and contacts for these organizations, along with links to their websites, etc. will become part of the “Tennessee Research” tab under the wonderful new “Tennessee County Database” section. This is an exciting new resource for researching Tennessee that will serve as a “where to find who and what” area for every county in Tennessee.
I would personally like to thank everyone on the Partnership Committee for their hard work in seeing this effort successfully begin. Along with the Area Advisors, the committee includes John Ware and PZ Horton. Nationally-known genealogist, Taneya Koonce (who is an expert on Tennessee genealogy research) is a new member of the committee and has given us some outstanding advice. As our Webmaster, Nancy Walczyk, has become an “ad hoc” member and has played a vital role.
And now I would like to name those first 35 Partners! If you don’t see your county or area represented, contact us so that we can reach out to those organizations. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or the society at email@example.com. You can also find the direct email for your area’s advisor by opening the “About Us” tab and then clicking on “Organization.” Let’s give a big welcome to the following:
Welcome to each of these great organizations. We look forward to a productive working relationship and hope that many more societies, libraries and archives will join us soon!
Carla Love Maitland, President
The Christmas Tie
1By Sherri Onorati
Who came up with the idea of the Christmas tie and why is it still a Christmas present tradition
for many families?
It's become Dad's, and really any male family members go-to gift when you have nothing else to
give - a Christmas tradition ... sometimes, even when the recipient doesn't wear ties. It was a
tradition in my family for many years when my husband was in the United States Marine Corps,
which actually, I have no idea why because he wore uniform ties. But every year, he received a
tie from his sons and I, whether he needed or wanted one. In later years, it became a
challenge to find the goofiest tie to see if he'd wear it anywhere.
Ties, or some semblance of a tie have been around for centuries. There's evidence of ties on the
terracotta soldiers found in the tomb of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang in 221 BCE. But most experts date the initial appearance of the "tie" in the 17th century. Reportedly, "Croatian
mercenaries, hired in Paris by King Louis XIV, wore cloth bands around their necks to ward off
natural elements, which in their line of work included sword slashes." In addition to warding off fatal blows," neckwear took on an inflated importance, as even novelist Honore de Balzac wrote in 1818 that a cravat was protection against "colds, stiff necks, inflammations, toothache."1
It's really not known for sure when the Christmas tradition of giving neckties begin, but it's most
likely during the Victorian age. It's definitely been around for at least a hundred years,
because this short commentary, found reprinted in the Fayette Falcon out of Sommerville, Tenn.,
is proof that even in 1919, men were already over that particular Christmas tradition!
Buying Unsuitable Ties
Tragedy Enough in Such Christmas Presents Purchased by Women, But They Might Do Worse.
"Look at the trouble that is being stored up there," sneered the morbid pessimist as he pointed
to a group of women around the necktie counter.
"It would be funny," he continued, "if it were not so tragic. Why it is that lovely women with all
her eye for the beautiful and with all her accomplishments cannot select a necktie for a man is
one of the things that rank with the unfathomable mysteries of life. I would sooner send a blind
man to buy me a "warranted sound" horse than I would enlist the services of a women to select
"Think of the fat men that will wake up on Christmas morning to find in their stockings a delicate
emaciated baby pink necktie that will look like a consumptive shoestring when it reposes on
their bountiful expanse of white shirt bosom. Then on the other hand, 'Bones, the human skeleton,' will probably get delirium tremens when he is made the recipient of a spotted necktie big enough to make a shawl for grandmom. Of course nothing will do for the nice, dignified old gentleman who never wears anything but a little black bow, but a flowing sash of passionate hue. Willie, the gay sport, on the other hand, will get something that would look nice on grandpa, and so it will go on down the line.
"Oh, the Christmas necktie! What tragedies are written in thy name!"
The pessimist paused.
Then he added thoughtfully, "I would, though, rather have my wife buy me a necktie than pick
out my cigars!" - Philadelphia Inquirer.
Printed in the Fayette Falcon (Somerville, Tenn.) Dec 19, 1919.
1 Turnbull & Asser "The History of Neckwear"
Seeing isn't Believing but Believing is Seeing
Whether known as Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Babbo Natale, Père Noël or Santa Claus, this legendary gift-giver is well-known around the world.
Along with an annual visit to sit on Santa's lap to tell him of their heartfelt desires, the tradition of writing a letter to Santa has been in practice for generations around the globe. Every year, children all over the world write their letters to Santa professing their good behavior throughout the year, testaments of minding mom and dad, and hoping that Santa will reward them with their wish list of toys.
The children of West Tennessee are no different, and although their letters and demands have changed through the decades, their dreams and wishes are still the same.
The belief in Santa helps them to believe in goodness and hope, motivating them to never give up... that anything is possible. Children learn that the invisible magic of the world is what helps make it more bearable and that seeing isn't be believing but believing is seeing.
Dear Santa Claus:
I love you very much. I want you to bring me a heap of things Christmas. I want a bridle. I have a saddle. My little brother Charlie wants a rocking horse. I hope your cotton crop was not like all the crops around here - short. This is what my papa says about his crop. Although I am only eight years old I have a little baby nephew. He wants a rattle. I forgot, I want some marbles and a pair of martin gails, and a heap, heap, heap of things, and oh! oh! fire crackers and anything you can get, and good things like little boys like to eat. Oh! I do wish Christmas was here right now. If it is cold I will have a big fire for you. I hope it will snow so you can come on your sleigh. Your boy, Robert W. Smith.
Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) Dec. 14, 1884
Dear Santa Claus, I have been a good boy. I want a cowboy suit and a pencil box, and I want a pair of gloves and a ruler about 12 inches long, and I want an Army Air set, and a baseball and bat, and a doctor's set. Your little friend, Billy Wayne Weaver, Rt. 1, Jackson, Tenn.
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec, 13, 1944
Dear Santa Claus: I am a little boy, won't be a year old until January 1, but want you to bring me a lot of things for Christmas. First, a snow suit, a big micky mouse, top, drum, and wagon. But most of all an automobile I can ride in so I won't have to have my auntie leave her work to take me riding. Be good to all the other little girls and boys, and I will be looking for you Christmas Eve. Buford Wayne Ranson, 264. North Liberty.
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec. 3, 1936
Dear Santa, I am a little boy just six years old and have been very smart helping Grandpa cut wood and making Grandma good fires. Bow I want you to cram my sock from the top to the toe. I will place a box near the fire side for you put my big toys in as I want you to bring me a gun, toolbox, red wagon, and a Buick car now Santa please bring me the things I have asked for, for if you dont I will be a disappointed lad on Xmas morning and Santa please dont forget the Dear little Orphan children. Now Santa I will go by asking you to bring Virginia Nell a Doll so by by. From Cecil S. Brammer.
The Covington Leader (Covington, Tenn.) Dec. 20, 1922
Dear Santa, I am a little girl 5 years old. I have been a good little girl. I want a rocker, doll, house shoes, blackboard, set of dishes and nuts and fruits. Santa don't forget my little cousin J. T. Kolwyck, who is spending the night with me tonight. He is 4 years old, he has a little brother 2 weeks old, don't forget him either. J. T. wants a knife, a wagon, a little truck, fruit, nuts and candy. WIll my love Patsy Allen. Humbolt, Tenn. Ps. Don't forget all the boys in service.
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec. 13, 1944
Dear Santa, I go to school at West Jackson but the building is being torn down and I have to go to school at West Jackson Baptist Church and I have a fine teacher, Miss Stone, and I hope you remember her too. I want you to bring me a Betsy Wetsy doll and a pencil box and lots of fruits, nuts and candy. Kathryn Shires, Jackson
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec. 11, 1938
Dear Santa, Gee! It has been a long time since you were here. Santa, I promise I will be a better boy next year, so I want you to bring me a pair of skates, a bicycle, a size 26 satchel, and some kind of a game that I can play with in the house. Remember all the other little boys and girls and carry them as much. I will always be your boy and looking for you every year. Bobby Senter, Medina, Tenn.
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec. 3, 1936
Dear Santa Clouse - How are you fine I hope I am a little boy 8 years old I want a air rifer and a tool box and lots of fruits. Therman Turnage, Munford, Tenn.
The Covington Leader (Covington, Tenn.) Dec. 20, 1922
Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me a kite, an automobile, a top, a ball, a harp and some a b c blocks, and I want some candy, apple, oranges, bannas and nuts – Big Charlie Brooks.
The Dresden Enterprise and Sharon Tribune (Weakley, Tenn.) Dec. 24, 1915
Dear Santa Claus, I am a little girl nine years old. I have three brothers. Thomas Earl wants a stroller. Charles wants a tricycle. Kenneth wants a tram and a coloring book, and a book satchel. I want a book satchel that goes on my back and a little sewing machine.
Bring us plenty of nuts and fruits and candy. Don't forget Daddy and Mother, Mama Carnell and Papa Fred, and Mama and Papa Wyatt. Santa look on the dining table and get you a piece of cake.
Hoping you and Mrs. Santa Clause a Merry Christmas. Love Betty Jean Wyatt, Jackson, Tenn.
The Jackson Sun (Jackson, Tenn.) Dec. 11, 1938
Dear old Santa Claus: Will you please bring me a doll that has curly hair and opens and shuts its eyes, some rasins, apples, candy, oranges, bannas, and lemons and all kinds of nuts, - Annie Skagg.
The Dresden Enterprise and Sharon Tribune (Weakley, Tenn.) Dec. 24, 1915
Tennessee Genealogical Society
Germantown Regional History
and Genealogy Center
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138